Why do Pregnant Women Develop Varicose Veins?
Written by
Luz Peterson
June 2016
Written by
Luz Peterson
June 2016

What is Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are also known as varicose or varicosities. Varicose veins are gnarled, dilated, and veins that are overfilled with blood and enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but it commonly affects the veins in the legs and the feet due to standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of the lower body. Varicose veins are often painful and have a bluish-purple or red color. Often, varicose veins appear swollen and raised. Varicose veins can also lead to more-serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems.

Causes of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins occur when the normal veins are not functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent the flow of blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail the blood begins to collect in the vein rather than flowing toward the heart. Varicose veins often affect the legs because they are the farthest from the heart and the gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward.

Following are some of the causes for varicose veins:-

  • Chronic heart valve conditions.
  • Menopause.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Standing for a long time.
  • Obesity that increases the pressure on the legs.
  • Pressure on the midsection of the body.

Why do Pregnant Women develop Varicose Veins?

During pregnancy, the volume of the blood increases, while the rate at which the blood flows from the legs to the pelvis decreases. This puts pressure on the veins, which can lead to varicose veins. Varicose veins generally occur in the legs, but while pregnancy Varicose Veins can appear on the buttocks and vaginal area. Hemorrhoids are another type of varicose vein in the anus or rectum that can occur during pregnancy and is often the result of constipation. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also lead to varicose veins as increased progestin levels can dilate or open the veins. During pregnancy, the uterus puts pressure on the inferior vena cava which can lead to varicose veins. Varicose veins are generally harmless, but they can become uncomfortable or itchy with time. Varicose veins generally diminish within three months to a year after pregnancy. Varicose veins can also be hereditary, and one cannot prevent the circulatory changes that occur during pregnancy but there are some ways that can help in preventing or minimizing the varicose veins. The extra volume of blood which is produced during pregnancy is essential to support two growing bodies which thus puts extra pressure on the blood vessels especially the veins of the legs.

Treatment of Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

Varicose Veins commonly go with pregnancy in case if it doesn’t go with time then permanent treatments should wait until the baby-making days are over. Sclerotherapy or ablative therapies are used to treat the Varicose Veins to seal the veins or vein stripping, where veins are tied off and removed.

Sclerotherapy: - Sclerotherapy is an effective non-surgical procedure to eradicate unwanted, non-functional varicose veins. This therapy is primarily used to remove veins of the legs and thighs and other unwanted veins at different sites. Sclerotherapy uses a very small needle which is injected into the vein. This therapy is performed with a purpose to produce irreversible alteration to the vein wall. When the irreversible alteration happens the vein will be absorbed, weeks to months after treatment. Sclerotherapy Treatment is postponed until after delivery and lactation are completed except under unusual circumstances.

Ablative therapies: -
In ablative therapies the doctors used heat to damage the tissues which make the scar tissue form. This scar tissue closes the vein. This technique uses radiofrequency energy to heat up and damage the wall of a vein which closes off the varicose vein in the leg. To treat a varicose vein, radiofrequency energy is directed through the catheter which is inserted through a small incision in the vein. It can be used on large veins in the leg and can be done with mild sedative.

Find More Treatment Options for Varicose Veins...

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